This issue is a reprint of Wolverine #1 (1982). This issue shows us not only Wolverine’s brute strength, but his will power and a bit of his emotional side, too. After killing a monstrous bear in the wild, Logan tracks down the hunter who poisoned him so much that it drove him mad—to the point where the bear killed several people. The hunter goes to court, and all is well. But when Logan gets his unopened letters to Mariko Yashida back, he becomes concerned. She was summoned back to Japan and married off to a man who beats her. Wolverine is appalled and tries his best to fight for her hand, but loses to her own father. After waking up in a Tokyo alley, he is nearly attacked (again), when a woman saves him, claiming the mutant for herself.
Writer Chris Claremont shows us plenty of different sides to Wolverine. We get to know that he is a tough mutant, one that doesn’t have a problem killing humans, but he does have a problem killing animals (I love this). We get to see a softer side when we learn of his love interested and how invested he is in her and their relationship; he goes to find her even after he’s told that he will probably be hunted down for doing so. That’s either stupidity or dedication—I like to think it’s the latter. Oh, we also learn that Wolverine is fluent in Japanese; that’s pretty freakin’ cool!
We can easily tell that this is a reprint from the style of the writing. There are tons of caption boxes and, admittedly, some that don’t need to be included for the story at all. The issue is really text-heavy, and nearly every panel is moderated by Wolverine himself.
The story goes by at a steady pace with good character interaction, but some is rather abrupt. Nonetheless, the progression is easy to follow and understand. It’s really clear while reading this issue how the overall writing style has changed over the years; it’s actually a really interesting read for reasons other than just the story.
Frank Miller’s artwork is another clear indicator of the reprint. There are a lot of extraneous lines and shadows. The characters are pretty realistic, but not so much to say they accurately resemble the “real world.” There is quite a bit of emotion shown in the characters, especially during dramatic moments, like when Logan finds out that Mariko is married. Those panels show the time period because of their sheer emphasis. It really sticks out.
Glynis Wein’s colors are really good, for the most part. Light sources are really taken into account, possibly even too much. From those to shadows, everything is thought through with a lot of precision and detail. Some of the shadows, like those from facial features (mostly bone structure), are embellished to an unrealistic extent, especially with the coloring and extraneous lines.
I’m not going to lie, though, even with unrealistic aspects of the artwork, it looks fabulous. Frank Miller is one of my favorite artists for the purpose that he knows how to evoke emotion. He can tell a story without words. He creates magic, let’s be real here. This has a very old school, classic comic style to it, and I think it fits really well. Reprint or not, it fits in just as well as the newer comics do because it’s what we know and love about the history and progression of this industry.
X-Men fans, Wolverine fans, Logan fans (I feel there’s a difference), and classic comic fans, assemble! This is a reprinted story that you’ll want to read either to see the new style, put next to your original and see the difference, or even enjoy for the first time. Either way, True Believers: Wolverine #1 is an issue that is most definitely worth the read. Coming to your local comic book shop soon!
Written by: Chris Claremont
Illustrated by: Frank Miller